U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee

Issa Asked to Help Stop I2P2 and Noise Proposals

The letter sent to about 150 trade associations last month by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asking them to identify "burdensome" regulations, has put these two OSHA proposals on the hot seat. President Obama's new executive order puts additional pressure on existing regulations.

New Republican committee leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have begun unveiling proposals to reduce the federal workforce and cut federal spending. While repealing the health care reform law is the party's top goal, several recent rules or current proposals from EPA and OSHA also appear to be targets, including EPA's proposed regulation of greenhouse gases, OSHA's planned injury and illness prevention programs rule, and the OSHA change in enforcing its noise exposure rules that emphasizes engineering controls.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter last month asking about 150 trade associations to identify specific "burdensome" regulations. The two OSHA proposals have been so identified by both National Association of Manufacturers President/CEO Jay Timmons and the North American Die Casting Association, which has asked its members to submit the rules and reporting requirements they consider burdensome on their industry by Friday, Jan. 21.

"From HHS, we will use the new healthcare law. From OSHA, we will use the proposed OSHA noise standard and the proposed injury & illness program rule (I2P2). From EPA, we will include the new rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other stationary sources," the government affairs firm for NADCA, which has its headquarters in Wheeling, Ill., and represents about 300 corporate members, said in the association's Jan. 12 emailed Update. "Please don't pass up this valuable opportunity to be heard! We will compile these examples over the weekend and submit them to the House Committee staff on Monday."

On Tuesday, Jan. 18, President Obama issued an executive order that will require executive agencies to conduct "retrospective analyses of existing rules." This is already done when agencies such as OSHA must seek OMB approval to continue an existing information collection, and these analyses include estimates of economic impact. But not all existing regulations are revisited in this way. The order includes this language:

Sec. 6. Retrospective Analyses of Existing Rules.
(a) To facilitate the periodic review of existing significant regulations, agencies shall consider how best to promote retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned. Such retrospective analyses, including supporting data, should be released online whenever possible.
(b) Within 120 days of the date of this order, each agency shall develop and submit to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs a preliminary plan, consistent with law and its resources and regulatory priorities, under which the agency will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.

Speaking Tuesday at a 40th anniversary event for Public Citizen -- both it and OSHA are turning 40 years old in 2011 -- Michaels said he believes OSHA's regulations cost less than expected and are effective, so they are not endangered by the order.

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